Monday, July 7, 2008

The Fate of the World

Heroes, heroines, secondary characters. This biweek at the Diner we've got your villains right here!

In a romance novel -- in any novel -- there can be a variety of conflicts that form the foundation of a book's plot. The classic conflicts are person vs. self, person vs. person, person vs. society, person vs. nature, and person vs. supernatural; and some sources add person vs. technology to take into account the modern age. If there's no conflict, there's most likely no book.

Conflict in a romance novel isn't always "Boy wants girl but girl resists boy since that's what nice girls do" or "Girl wants boy but boy thinks he can never trust a woman". Although some romance novels can be structured so the hero and heroine function as each other's antagonist, there's often a more obvious antagonist involved to complicate matters.

I'm talking about the villain. Color him grey, black, evil, paranoid, or a wolf in sheep's clothing, there are a huge variety of villains in paranormal romances. The villain can be a demon, a vampire, a human, a wacked out wizard. (Of course, so can the hero/heroine). Paranormal romances tend to occur on a grand scale, like science fiction and fantasy novels, with the fate of the world, not just love, in the balance. This means the force that opposes the hero/heroine double whammy is most likely a huge threat as well, and a threat to our entire existence. (Gasp!)

Often the villain is painted in undeniable evil -- a serial killer or dictator who wants to rule the world in a mean way. Even when the book starts with the villain not known to the protagonists, it quickly becomes more personal. Stakes are raised (especially when vampires attack). The villain wants the hero and/or heroine out of the picture and will stop at nothing to make this happen. Imagine finding true love while the fate of the world rests on your shoulders and somebody wants you dead! It definitely intensifies the experience.

To add layers, when the "villain" is from a particular race of creatures, the author will frequently, in the case of series, feature a protagonist from a member of that race in a future novel who finds love despite the evil reputation of his or her species. Paranormal romance is thick with novels where the protagonists think of one another as the "enemy" before they fall in love, as with werewolf-vampire trysts.

There are a number of antagonists in my upcoming novel, SURVIVAL OF THE FAIREST, including resentful fairies, the fairy "government", so to speak, and some terrifying creatures we humans think of as innocent garden gnomes. They're varying shades of grey, but they all oppose the hero and heroine's happily ever after, as well as influence that pesky fate of the world. And this, too, is a technique many authors employ -- spreading the villainous love around so the hero and heroine have that much more to conquer before they can relax into domestic bliss, or an exciting life of tag-team demon hunting, depending on the book.

By the way, the pies of the week are fruit pies. Anyone remember the Hostess ads from the 70's when fruit pies could stop villains in their tracks?? &

Jody W. (Totally New Site Design--with gnomes!)
SURVIVAL OF THE FAIREST--Available 7/15 from Samhain Publishing


  1. That's a fantastic book cover. I'd pick that book up just on the cover alone. I like it when villains of one book become the protagonist in another. Even if they were trying to destroy the world. (Providing they've got some good reason, or undergo some massive change and feel really bad about it, lol)

  2. Okay, as an owner of a gnome cookie jar named Gnorman, I gotta say, I'm scared. I'm really scared.



  3. bwahahahaha Gnorman? that's awesome!

  4. Yeah, that's what the cookie jar said. "Gnorman."

    Go figya.



  5. Ah, you gotta love a good villain. I always liked the ones we love to hate.